Lum: Animal doctors to your door | AspenTimes.com

Lum: Animal doctors to your door

Su Lum
Slumming

When Debbie at Tailwaggers left the Aspen Business Center, my friend Hilary went off to California and I discovered the dogs' toenails were woefully in need of clipping, I emailed All Pets Mobile Vets and scheduled a house call.

My dachshund Freddie has toenails that get so long they look like talons.

Nicky, who is on the stout side, has more contact with the ground, so his nails stay filed down by earth and macadam, except for his dew claws, which tend to curl practically up to his low-hanging knees.

Hilary, who is staying the winter in my back shed, owns Huckleberry, a dachshund/Chihuahua who hates having his nails cut almost as much as Nicky and Freddie do.

Freddie has been known to fight nail clipping so desperately that we thought he might have a stroke, while Nicky quietly releases his anal sacs and clears the room.

I was thrilled with the idea of having a veterinarian come to see the dogs at home, and it would be an understatement to say that the visit went well. The visit went perfectly. Freddie is always happy to welcome company and loved having two nice ladies pick him up and fuss over him, and next thing he knew he had been clipped. Huckleberry followed.

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Nicky lifted his lip but was scooped up and got his dew claws snipped. Start to finish, maybe 15 minutes, and the rate was fabulous.

There are two lady vets at All Pets: Drs. Lindsey Brooks and Oneal Peters with their two techs Emma Tedrick and Jane Gross. They travel in vet and tech pairs tending animals "from cats to cows" between Rifle and Aspen. They have a dental and surgical clinic in Willits and a sister hospital, Valley Vet Hospital in Rifle, headed by Dr. Kate Owens, founder of the original mobile operation.

A few days ago, I had them in again for follow-up trimming. This being Nicky's second rodeo, he fled under the guest bed and couldn't be enticed out even with his favorite chicken treat. Next time it will be my third rodeo, and I'll have learned to shut all of the doors at appointment time.

I asked Peters (I first had Brooks, and — both pretty Colorado ladies — I confess I can't yet tell them apart) if she had any funny stories about their rounds on the road, and she sent me this:

"It was a normal day spent driving around between appointments, visiting animals for their health needs. We were just heading back to the clinic when we came across a strange scene. On the edge of the road were two people entranced with something going on in the middle of Willits Lane, right in the middle of a three-way intersection. We slowed to a stop and peered in the road to see what the excitement was about, and we were surprised to find a tiny, fuzzy field mouse running in frantic circles in the middle of the busy route.

"Before I could say anything, my tech, Emma, was out the car and running towards the mouse and began her own frantic circles trying to catch the terrified mouse. Traffic began to build up in all three directions, everyone in awe as they watched Emma chasing the mouse, blond hair flying. Each time Emma was close to catching the speedy creature, he would squeak and try to bite his misidentified rescuer. More cars began to form a queue, and as I was trying to pull our vehicle to the side, Emma was sternly demanding that no cars drive through, as the mouse would surely be smashed. As the traffic continued to pile up, Emma and I both began our wild mouse chase, around and around in circles until finally, by some miracle, Emma was able to secure the poor mouse with a fabric grocery bag.

"Mouse in hand, standing in the middle of the road, Emma looked at me and said, 'Now what?' We quickly made our way back to our parked truck, and as we finally let traffic flow, one man rolled down the window and hollered, 'Good job!' We eased our way over to the river and found a peaceful place in the countryside to free our little friend. Once on the grass, he relaxed and abandoned his crazy circles. We made sure he was safe before heading to our next appointment. As we drove, we both giggled, laughing at ourselves and wondering how many people had just witnessed our comical mouse rescue. Caring for animals is not species-specific, and if we run across another mouse needing help, we will surely do the same thing again."

Su Lum is a longtime local who will not confine her patronage to toenails. Her column appears every Wednesday in The Aspen Times. Reach her at su@rof.net

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